Even for me, sometimes too many things happen at once that challenge us. Too many dots show up and it is hard to connect them in a clear meaningful way. Right now I am in that situation. I am hoping that writing this blog post will help me find the connections, while bringing something toward your life to think about.
So here are the dots that have happened over the last few days:
Dot One: Reading poetry by Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and Blake (to name a few) in English class. Poems like “Sonnet 60,” “To an Athlete Dying Young,” and “The world is too much with us.”
Dot Two: Attending the funeral of a family member on my wife’s side that battled cancer for four years. She was only a year older than I am.
Dot Three: Returning to Centura for a basketball game to connect with past colleagues. I also saw the school’s new academic display that had a section for the Teacher of the Year award, which I received in 2010.
Dot Four: Going through a “first year.” Dealing with all the positive and negative components of that.
Dot Five: Getting a chapbook of poetry ready for submission… actually, dot five is writing in general.
So let’s connect some dots with a quote from Macklemore:
Every dot is connected to this quote in some way. This life is fleeting. We all die. We don’t face that reality. We don’t live like our death is a truth. We have songs, we have graduation speeches, we have posters reminding us of the fact. Expressing the idea that our lives should be lived for something more deep and meaningful… but we watch another YouTube video, or retweet a meme, or spend time talking bad about someone. We simply waste time, waste our days on things that don’t make our life incredible.
See, the second part of the Macklemore’s lyric takes all the dots to a deeper level. What we do with our lives dictates how long it takes to die a second time… Think about that for a second…
Dot One: Reading poetry from the 1800’s.
Dot Two: Family. The love we create by being family.
Dot Three: Being involved in people’s lives.
Dot Four: Being involved in people’s lives. Even when it is tough.
Dot Five: Writing so that my words can be a part of somebody’s life.
When will Shakespeare’s name finally be said for the last time? When will yours? When will my name no longer be said?
I don’t know the answers, but I do know that what we do while we are here determines how long we will be remembered.
This isn’t about being famous. This is about facing the truth that we will die. At some point we will no longer see a sunset. We will no longer have a great cup of coffee. Be able to hold hands with the person we love. If we truly lived with the truth of death, our lives would be different. It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t work, or that we wouldn’t watch a YouTube video. It means we wouldn’t waste our time and energy on hurting people. We would chase our goals. We would cherish the opportunities we have to learn, to read poetry, to drink a good cup of coffee.
But most importantly, we would love with an open heart. We would love our life and the people we get to share it with. I may never truly make it as a writer or poet (but I will keep trying), but I am a father, a husband, a teacher and a friend. How I live my life in those roles will determine how long it takes to die a second time…